Friday, December 14, 2007

What a great idea!

While looking for places to buy a canoe barrel I stumbled across a company called Envirosponsible. They are located in Whitby, Ontario and have started a very ingenious business where they collect items from builders, contractors and pharmaceutical companies that would normally end up in a land fill and re-sell them to the public. What an awesome way to make a living and help the environment at the same time!

They have antique doors, windows, sinks and of course blue 30 liter barrels. The barrels are sold for $30 each and are available for pick-up or they will ship them anywhere in Canada.

Here is a short video tour of the warehouse...

Roll Out the Barrel!

After extensively researching the subject, I have made a big decision.....well not really a BIG decision, but one that will have lasting impact on future canoe trips. I have decided to start using a food barrel and harness. The reasons are simple, all the food will be in one place, food no longer has to take up space in my pack (...and risk it's sent staying on my pack) and foods that are prone to being squished....won't be. But the most important reason comes down to numbers. With 6 of us going on the "kids trip" next summer (Me, Lauren, Gerry and two of his boys), we simply won't be able to get away with putting food in our packs....there just won't be enough room.

There are two sizes although I fairly sure the 30 liter would be the right size, I would love to hear from any of you who have used barrels to know if I should just go for the 60 liter. Thoughts?

Anyway, the barrel is a 30 liter and is your standard blue barrel. Nothing special about that, but the key is choosing the right harness and I think I have.

The one I plan on getting is from Headstrong.
Check out the incredible reviews it received from Mycc.

Here's what they say on their site...

Headstrong Packs manufactures the only self-tightening Barrel Harness on the market. Designed by a Mechanical Engineer, this innovative harness holds the barrel tight and close to your back resulting in significantly less back strain and improved comfort.

The ergonomically designed dual-density lumbar pad and waist belt enhance comfort on long portages. The self-tightening design keeps the padding in contact with your back and distributes the load evenly.

Tumpline users will appreciate the better lift efficiency provided by the optimized tumpline angle.

Proper material selection and design result in very rugged construction to ensure that the Headstrong Harness will last through many paddling adventures.

Back Care Tips for Trippers

While surfing for info about the advantages of using a barrel to carry food, I found this great article on Paddling Canada. As you many of you already know, I have problems with my lower back and it's got all kinds of helpful hints. Check it out!

Bower’s Barrel Baskets Beat Backache!

A couple of hours at your sewing machine can
save miserable back strain on the portage.

By Carol Bower

The members of our annual canoe-camping expedition are all over 55 years old, and all of us have suffered back problems. To lessen chances of delay due to back spasms on our expeditions, we’ve developed some guidelines – and a handy method of carrying those awkward barrel packs so necessary to keep food secure.

#1 Use a pack board.
Nothing is harder on a delicate back than carrying heavy items in your arms. We organize our portage loads so that almost everything is carried in backpacks or strapped to a pack board. We have an old aluminum army surplus pack board with its own straps, and with it anyone can carry two barrels in great comfort high on the back. Paddles, a fishing rod and a net are the only items we can’t carry on our backs, so we tape them together in a bundle which can then be carried over one shoulder.

#2 Carry a sail bag.
Balers, lines, maps, wet shoes and jackets, and other miscellaneous items are tied separately to the thwarts during paddling. They considerably increase the weight of a canoe and make it much more difficult to portage, often flopping around and snagging on trees. Instead of securing all these small items separately onto packs (time-consuming and awkward) or carrying them by hand (uncomfortable and dangerous on a rough trail), we toss them all into a tough nylon drawstring sail bag, then lash the bag to a pack board, along with a day barrel. This is a quick, simple, and convenient solution, as long as you don’t buy a sailboat in order to obtain a sail bag.

#3 Portage the canoe half way... and switch.
It goes without saying that if you have back trouble, a Kevlar canoe is a good choice. After stripping our Kevlar canoes, their empty weights are 30 kg (66 lb.) and 25 kg (55 lb.).
On long portages, there are many advantages to taking the canoes one at a time. Instead of lifting the canoe alone, avoid that dangerous manoeuvre by having a partner hold it up while you get underneath. Then your partner, perhaps carrying a backpack or the paddles, can lead the way over difficult terrain, lending a hand over deadfalls and pointing out obstacles in advance. Every 400 metres (440 yd.) switch loads. In two trips, just as in the normal method, both canoes and two packs are still carried across, but with less strain on either back.

#4 Weigh those packs.
We use one waterproof pack each loaded with personal and camping gear. Each weighs 20 to 22 kg (44 - 49 lb.). On our latest trip, we also had two large and a small food barrel, for a total weight of 22 kg plus two day barrels, one for each canoe, weighing a few kg each. We also carry the pack board and that sail bag of miscellaneous items, adding up to another 10 kg (22 lb.). Aside from that we had a taped bundle of 5 paddles, a fishing rod, and net.

This gear was enough for 3 people for 17 days in the wilderness, and could be portaged in three trips. To keep light we replaced books with crossword puzzles, ground beans with instant coffee, wine with rum, and wore the same clothes the whole trip (laundered daily by immersion for hours in flowing water).

#5 Make Barrel Webbing.
We use plastic barrels in two sizes: 19-litres (5 gal.) for day barrels and 29-litres (8 gal.) (which have a wider mouth) for food. (See Edward T. Neal, “Get Tanked”, in KANAWA ‘s Summer 2000 issue) Both are awkward to lift and carry. The smaller ones have no handles at all, and lifting and carrying the loaded food barrels by one or even both side-mounted handles can easily lead to back strain.

Therefore, I made “baskets” with handles at the top for each barrel (see photo). The black plastic webbing I used is inexpensive and sews easily by machine using a normal needle and thread. A basket for a 19-litre
(5 gal.) barrel requires less than 6 metres (7 yd.) of webbing, costs under ten dollars, and takes less than an hour to make.

The handles on top make it easy to pass the barrels from one person to another during loading, unloading or on a short “bucket brigade” portage. Loops on the sides make it easy to attach the barrels to a pack board in any combination, and also to a canoe.

Buying a ready-made backpack harness is another possibility, but then the barrels can only be carried one at a time. Also, the straps of the harness are inconvenient around the campsite if left attached, whereas the baskets become a permanent and unobtrusive part of the barrel.

#6 Bring medicine.
Sometimes back problems are inevitable. On our last trip, we had a lot of upstream work to do, which required pulling the loaded canoe from a stooped position through shallow water almost all day long. The constant bending and straining was tough on bad backs, and we had problems. Obviously more rest periods and muscle stretches would have helped, as well as warm ups before beginning the upstream work.
For those times when all else fails, your medical kit should include several types of medication for pain and spasms, as well as stomach settlers, since anti-spasm medication often causes indigestion. Also of great use is a good heat rub, which acts immediately to relax muscles and prevent further spasms. Massage the area lightly every ten minutes after application, and the heat returns. Adhesive patches impregnated with the same active ingredients as rubs can be applied and left on for a day or more; again, when rubbed they reactivate. Be sure to try them first if you have sensitive skin.

#7 Set back-saving rules for the trip.
Make a very conservative estimate of trip duration so you don’t have to rush. This means including one or two days off in the estimate of trip length, and planning for short work days. We generally leave camp at 8:30 a.m. and stop no later than 3:30 p.m.

We also promise each other to avoid hasty decisions during adrenalin surges, and to monitor each other for signs of these adrenalin surges or exhaustion. It’s up to everyone to do some back-strengthening exercises for several weeks before the trip, but en route we continue these exercises every morning or evening. We also take frequent breaks, do a few stretches and warm up our muscles before lifting.

Carol Bower’s back survived a gruelling 160-km (100 mi.) trip which began on the stunning West Magpie River, sometimes called one of America’s “ultimate” rivers. After paddling the Magpie, the travellers spent days hauling loaded canoes through almost continuous rapids, to cross to the Moisie River watershed beyond Lac Vital, Quebec.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

New Site Content

I have added Mark's new blog to the "Blogs I read" section of the sidebar. If you are even a casual fan of all things Algonquin, you will love this new addition to an already awesome site.

You can check it out at

I have also added a banner to the top of the sidebar where I will post my progress saving money for my spring canoe purchase. If you are feeling generous please feel free to contact me

Thanks for reading folks!

"Where have you been???"

...that pretty much sums up the general sentiment of the emails I have received from readers lately. The past month or two have been a bit crazy and something had to give, so the blog took a back seat for a while. Sorry folks, but as some of the folks that have been reading my blog for a while can attest, this is nothing terribly unusual for me. I will admit that November was a particularly bad on the blog front, with just two posts for the month I am not surprised many of you thought I had jumped ship....or canoe in this case. But rest assured that I am still here and don't plan on leaving. With that 'bout an UPDATE people?

  • Canoe Search- I had posted about a canoe that was for sale on eBay a while back, but after some great advice from the guys on the AA forum I have decided to go in a different direction. Mark, from Mark in the Park (see my LINKS) let me know about the rental sale that The Portage Store has each spring. They have a number of different types, but for now I am leaning towards either the Ultra light the Langford Kevlar. They look like good quality canoes and for $650-$900 you can't go wrong in my opinion. I BIG thanks to Mark for giving me the heads up. I have learned that one of the things to watch for when buying a flat bottom canoe is for hogging. Thanks to Rick for posting some great info!
  • Kids Canoe Trip- We haven't decided on a date yet, but the destination had been finalized! We will be spending two nights on Booth Lake. This will be Laurens first ever trip to Algonquin and I am very excited for her to finally get to experience something that has become such a BIG part of my life.
  • Jack, Oh Jack..- Our yellow lab Jack is almost a year old and has turned out to be one great dog....most of the time. He has never been one to cause a lot of damage or chew, but last week while Tanyia was out he somehow got a hold of my digital camera. Tanyia called me at work to let me know and I had a panic attack as I imagined my camera all chewed to bits. Well fortunately, it was still in the thick case so the camera came away with very little damage. In fact the only thing that happened was a very small crack in the corner of the I won't be able to take it under water anymore, but at least it still works! I was never 100% happy with that camera and I am still considering buying a new one that has a viewfinder. This one doesn't have one and I find it hard to properly "frame" a picture without it.
  • Canoe Fund- I opened a new bank account to save for the canoe I plan to buy in the spring. I have set it up to take $100 from each pay and deposit it into the "Canoe account". By my calculations I should have about $1400 by May, which is more then enough to buy me a used canoe! I plan to add a "Canoe Fund Meter" to the blog this afternoon, so I can update my progress.
  • Star Wars Figures- My boys are obsessed with Star Wars, so I managed to find them 40 new figures on eBay for $30! It's so much fun watching my kids love the same thing I did as a child and allows me to be a kid again too. Good deal though eh?
  • CC 2007 Trip Log- It STILL isn't done, but I am still pecking away at it and will post the second it is done. The problem is all the detail I like to put into them takes a long time to write out and free time has been a problem lately.

Nautical Terminology

This is one of those things that I know I should know, but sometimes get confused about. So just in case I am not the only one that gets port and starboard mixed up, here is a reminder...

Bow - The front or pointy end of the boat.

Stern - The back or blunt end of the boat.

Port side - The left hand side of the boat when you are in the boat facing forward.

Starboard side - The right hand side of the boat when you are in the boat facing forward.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Food Barrel

For a while I have been thinking about using a barrel to carry food, but since it was always just Gerry and Me, it just wasn't practical to carry a big barrel.

But now that we are going to start bringing the kids into the park the whole " barrel thing" starts to make a lot of sense. I have been checking out harnesses and I am sure I can get a used one off of MEC's gear swap. For the barrel itself, I stumbled on a great source...thanks to Pete from Algonquin Adventures for posting the info!

This guy charges $10 per barrel ANY size. and will ship via greyhound if you can't make it to Hamilton. The barrels i got were super clean, and work great.

Recycling Service
250B Lottridge St.
Hamilton ON Canada L8L 8J8
(905) 516-1877 cell
(905) 545-5577 phone
(905) 525-5577 fax

Province pressed to cut logging

Environmentalists angry over MNR's wavering on banning or curbing Algonquin Park operations

Nov 28, 2007 04:30 AM


Just three weeks into the job, Natural Resources Minister Donna Cansfield has angered environmentalists over whether to curb, or even ban, logging in Algonquin Provincial Park.

She'll probably come under more pressure next week, when provincial environmental commissioner Gord Miller releases his annual report.

Although it's not usually evident to the million or so people who camp, canoe or hike each year in Ontario's oldest park, trees can be cut down and hauled out of more than three-quarters of the popular "wilderness" preserve.

While logging areas and seasons are separated as much as possible from tourist routes, "it's not a park with logging in it; it's an industrial zone that permits canoeing," says Evan Ferrari, of CPAWS Wildlands League, an advocacy group – and chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – originally formed to preserve the park....CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Well I am happy to report that the CC2007 trip log is about 1/3 completed and after a bit of a hiatus from all things Algonquin, my head is again swimming with trip ideas. Yeah!!

I am still looking at ideas for the trip with my daughter next summer. I want a challenge, but not too much of challenge. I want portages, but too many. I want comfort, but don't want to be overburdened with gear. I have decided that I will bring a collapsible chair, but will not be bringing any other bulky luxury items. I am looking at this trip as a solo trip with company, so although I will be bringing items like the chair that I normally wouldn't, I will be planning the food , route and most of the gear like I will have to carry it all...'cause I will! LOL! Lauren will be responsible for her clothes and personal items, but the rest is up to me, so I have to be careful not to bring too much.
The portages will all have to be double carries, so again this factors into what we bring and the route. Lots to think about, but fortunately I have the winter to plan it all out.

Ever since Gerry and I started our annual trip into the Back-country, I have been considering buying a canoe. The only thing (other then the money...) that prevented me from buying one was that I couldn't justify it for one trip a year. Well next year I plan on doing as many as three trips:

  1. Lauren's Trip
  2. CC2008
  3. ...and maybe another solo trip
So now it starts to make sense....dollars and cents. To rent a canoe for 4 days is about $150. So I would be looking at $450 to go on these 3 trips. If I can get a high quality, lightweight, Kevlar canoe for about $1000 ( and I can...courtesy of eBay) then I could have it paid for in 2 years! But that's just the start! If I had my own canoe then I could go on more trips...even overnight trips and bring the kids with me. I am still back and forth a bit, but for the first time I have almost convinced myself that this would be "the best move", but convincing Tanyia might be a bit harder.

My back is feeling better and I have scaled back my workouts a bit to give it time to heal. I should be going to chiropractic more often, but I am looking for a new guy. Not that that the one I have been using isn't good, but I want to get a second opinion.

The boys hockey is in full force. Jacob has taken up just where he left off last year and is doing great. His first game is at the end of the month and he is scheduled to play in 3 tournaments. He will also be our tournament goalie, but will play forward for most regular season games. Ethan is struggling with his first year of hockey. I think he thought it would be easier then it is...after all, he had sat in the bleachers watching his older brother all last year. How hard could it be? He is improving, but he has already said that he would prefer to do something else next year and I am fine with that.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween is here!

As a kid I always loved Halloween. The only exception was the time I went out dressed as a bank robber and some older kids threw a bag of liquid pig manure at me. It exploded all over my back as I tried to run away and was the last time I ever went trick or treating. I did get more candy then ever that year though, so I guess you take the good with the smelly.

Now that I have kids of my own I love to let then pic what costume they want. This year Lauren is a Hollywood Star and Jacob is a Spider-man ( but it's some black and grey Spider-man....I have no idea what that's all about?).

Ethan's costume on the other hand is right up my alley.
Funny story. The other day Ethan had tried on his Darth Vader costume and was wearing it around the house. After an hour or so Tanyia asked him to take it off 'cause we had to get ready for Hockey. Ethan said "No". Tanyia said to him "take it off or I will! " and Ethan still wearing the black cape, Vader mask and with light saber in hand turned to her and said in his best Darth Vader voice "Mommy, you don't know the power of the Dark side!". What a little goof.

Have a great Halloween everyone!

PS- As I was searching for a good Darth Vader picture to include in this post I found this Ad for a genuine Darth Vader much? $794.00 US ! Crazy eh? I can just imagine that conversation "Hey Tanyia...umm... I bought something off the Internet and it's kind of expensive...but don't worry, it was much cheaper then the Death Star"

Canoe Strokes

Although I am sure this may be considered common knowledge amongst the more experienced canoe folk out there, at times I still get the different strokes confused and thought....I must not be the only one...right? If you are like me and have a hard time telling your J-stroke from your back stroke...this is for you!

Some of the basic strokes in paddling are the forward stroke, the J-Stroke, and various forms of cross strokes, including cross forward, cross draw and cross back.

Forward Stroke

The paddle enters the water comfortably ahead of the paddler' s position. With the blade perpendicular to the keel line and the paddle vertical, pull straight along the side of the canoe. Keep both arms relatively straight throughout all phases of the stroke. Push forward and down over the blade with the top arm and pull with the lower arm. Body and shoulder rotation provides much of the power.


This stroke provides forward momentum at the same time that it keeps the canoe on a straight course. Start off with a forward stroke, but then push the top hand farther out over the water than the lower hand. This motion moves the blade under the boat and carves the -by levering the paddle off the boat. The last push away from the boat should be a quick one.

Cross Forward

Executed parallel to the canoe' s centerline. Both hands remain over the water, keeping the paddle shaft vertical to the water. The stroke is short and performed in front of the body. The paddle is planted as far forward as a person can lean comfortably. Move the upper body forcefully to an upright position and stop the stroke at your knees. An underwater recovery helps to establish a quick back-and-forth rhythm.

Cross Back

More often used by solo paddlers, this stroke requires good upper-body flexibility. The paddler crosses over the boat with the paddle and inserts the blade opposite the hips. The body must be rotated until the shoulders are almost parallel to the boat' s centerline. This stroke is a powerful way to stop a boat quickly to scout a rapid, and is usually used with a back stroke to maintain position in the river.

Friday, October 19, 2007

End of Season List and an Update

With canoeing season quickly coming to a close, now is the time to start thinking about proper storage of gear. While searching the net I found this AWESOME list (...did I mention how much I love lists?) and thought some of you may find it helpfull as well. I will post it below.

I have started to do some preliminary planing for one of a few trips Gerry and I plan to do next year. The one I am focused on at this time will be the first one for our kids and should prove to be a blast. I will be bringing Lauren and Gerry plans to take his 2 older boys. I have already found that planning a trip for kids isn't that different from the prep that went into any of our past trips. Finding a route that provides some challenge, but isn't too chalanging comes with some unexpected bonuses. The main one being that since we arnen't having to do long portages or paddles, we can be MUCH more liberal in terms of both the food and gear we bring. As for where we go....well, that's still up in the air. I am bouncing around between Booth Lake, Barron Canyon or Tim River, but it seems the more I research one, the more I uncover other intreguing possiblilities.

As for th Brent to Robinson, CC 2007 trip log. I STILL have yet to even start it! I hope to get started on it within the next few weeks and poke away at it. I will get it done and when I do, you will be the first to know.

Here is the Post Canoe Season Checklist:

1. [ ]Was the tent and ground cloth dry before it was last put away?

2. [ ]Were any repairs needed to the tent or other gear?

3. [ ]Were all the items in the cook set cleaned and rinsed thoroughly after the last use?

4. [ ]Where are the towels and scrubby used for utensil cleaning? These items are often wet and can damage other equipment.

5. [ ]What items did I find I needed during the trip or forgot to take? This is a good time to make a list. There is nothing like stopping at the local outfittter on the trip home.

6. [ ]Are any tools, tent pegs or other items broken or lost?

7. [ ]Do any knives, hatchets, saws or other tools require sharpening? Maybe that Sven saw needs a new blad because it has lost its set.

8. [ ]Have all the water bottles been drained, cleaned and stored away with the caps removed? You may want to loosley install the caps after the bottles are dry. (Keep mice and dirt out)

9. [ ]Has the sleeping bag been aired and stored loosely?

10. [ ]Has the sleeping pad been unrolled and inflated before storage? Keeping them compressed is not a good practice.

11. [ ]Has the trash bag been removed from the pack and put into the trash can? YUK!

12. [ ]Have all the food items been removed from the packs? This can be a double YUKK!

13. [ ]Have rain suites and pack covers been stored away wet?

14. [ ]Have any items been removed from the first aid kit or have the medications exceeded shelf life?

15. [ ]Do any staple items like salt, pepper, spices, oils, matches or fire starters need resupply? (If you use strike anywhere matches they must ALWAYS be stored in metal containers! Mice are known to ignite them.)

16. [ ]I used to advise keeping stoves full of fuel during storage. I have since learned that they should be emptied. The fuel will cause corrosion and clogging. My Coleman repairman told me to remove the fuel during long term storage.

17. [ ]Have all finacial obligations and accounts been settled? Group trips often involve cost sharing.

18. [ ]Have your trip notes been completed? Are maps, notes, and other documents secured for future use?

19. [ ]Has the water filter been flushed, drained and stored correctly? Do filter cartridges need replacement?

20. [ ]Have batteries been removed from flashlights and other such items as the GPS and weather radio?

21. [ ]Does the candle lantern need oil or a replacement candle?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The first instalment of the Portage Dictionary...

The Perdita Felicien: wherein the portager lurches over a seemingly innocuous fallen tree at great speed expecting to clear it with ease only to catch a lace, a pant cuff or similar on a branch. A Jesus or Earth Mother Dive may follow.

The Tonya Harding: where in order to maintain balance or momentum the portager propels lower leg forward into rock, log or both, at about shin level.

The Armadillo: wherein the clear line through the bush becomes suddenly a Car Wash, the portager curls head toward chest, tucks arms in, leans forward and stomps aggressively through obstructing branches. A move heralded by judges for its audacity in placing skin preservation ahead of the need to see where you're going.

The Birth Canal: when carrying a canoe, the portager attempts to pass between two trees separated by a distance less than the boat's beam at the midthwart. Athletes are scored based on the speed at which they perform the maneuver and the creativity applied in the process of wiggling through.

Dinglethwacking: ropes or nylon webbing connected to the canoe's front and back that allow the portager to control the canoe are called dingle straps. Holding them taught while going through a Car Wash would seem to be an excellent way of fending off bent branches, but in fact, it merely extends the branches' arc, making the results of their release that much more spectacular.

Car Wash: undergrowth along a river, either where nature is reclaiming a trail or engulfing a river tends to be strong, right to the ground. Branches grow horizontally seeking sunlight, creating a gate effect between trees similar to what you find in a drive-through carwash, but they don't so much buff as flagellate.

Jesus Dive: where losing balance or footing, the portager falls in some direction (extra points for backwards) and reaches out a limb to break the fall only for said limb to contact the pointy end of a stick. Twenty points for palm of hand. Extra points for broken skin.

Mother Earth Dive: similar to the Jesus Dive, but, hands restrained by portaging straps, the portager kisses the earth - with gusto. Ten points for each five seconds of prostration.

The Boomerang: when attempting the Car Wash or Armadillo, the portager is propelled backwards by the strength of the branches.

The Twistoff: when carrying the canoe, the portager attempts to execute a turn only to find the bow of the canoe has gone past a tree. Extra points if your head makes a sound when the canoe hits it.

Original Work Done By Chris Lawson

Friday, October 12, 2007

Canoe Parts

I always get confused when some of the more knowledgeable folk use the proper terms to describe all the different parts of a canoe. I know the basics, but some of the less common leave me scratching my head. I thought a diagram would help...well ME and maybe a few others.

Oh and for the record, I never like when people use "boat" when describing a canoe, but this was the best one I found.

I hope it helps a few of the other "terminology challenged" folks out there.

Eleven random things about me

  1. I have broken my left wrist 3 times - once when I was 8 from jumping off a swing, once while playing rugby (hairline fracture...but that still counts right?) and the last time was in a bar fight "on a Sudbury Saturday night". It really was a Saturday!
  2. I have a strong NEED to have everything organized and in proper order. Example: Every night I lay out my clothes for the next day in the order I will put them on.
  3. I can't start to prepare food until the kitchen counters have nothing but appliances on them.
  4. In ten years I have only missed 3 Toronto Maple Leaf games.
  5. I learned how to snap my fingers when I was 22 and high. It felt like I had just discovered DNA.
  6. While singing in the car I reposition the rear view mirror so I can see myself.
  7. Age 7: At summer camp I fell out of a canvas tent while changing into a bathing suit and tumbled down a hill naked in front of a small crowd.
  8. I don't wash the lettuce before I make a salad, but Tanyia thinks I do.
  9. I know hundreds of people, but only have 2 real friends.
  10. Every Monday Tanyia works until midnight and the kids are in bed by eight, so I have the house to myself for 5 hours.
  11. I love Mondays.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Life Update:

Wow...I know it's been a while since I updated, but I will do my best to get you up to speed. The past few weeks have been crazy. Between injury, illness, work stress, ex girlfriends and neighbourhood unrest (...more on all this in a just a moment) it's been hard to keep my head above water at times...but with Tanyia's help, I manage. God bless that wonderful woman!

The Update....

  • New Tri Bike: My custom Felt 32 arrived about 2 weeks ago and it is gorgeous! As I mentioned in a previous post it came with a bunch of gear that were "nice to have" items. Not the least of which was the stationary trainer, that converts any road/tri bike into a stationary bike for indoor training. Unfortunately, the trainer was smashed during delivery and will need some replacement parts. Aside from that though, this was another eBay steal! Other then a brief spin around the block, I haven't been able to get out for a real ride where I can really give it a hard test. Even during my little spin it was very fast and responsive. I plan to take it out later this week and I will update once I do.
  • My Back is on the Mend...AGAIN!: After 2 weeks of feeling pain just about every time a moved, I am happy to say I am virtually pain free. I still get the odd twinge, but nothing serious. I had stopped going to the chiropractor for a few months and with all of my training leading up to the triathlon and my refusing to slow down after, it was just a matter of time before something like this happened. So as it stands now I haven't trained for 2 weeks! That is the longest I have gone without exercise in over 5 years and although it's good for my back, it's not so good for my mental state. I have been struggling with feelings of depression lately and the only thing that has changed is my ability to train. I hope to be able to restart tomorrow morning. It's been strange how much it has effected my self image. I look in the mirror and I think I look the same, but I feel fat....does that sound crazy?
  • Newcastle has Bloods and Crypts?: While at the park with Lauren and my dog Jack last night, I noticed this large group of teenagers not far from where we were running Jack. Over the next 10 minutes the group continued to grow and grow, until it was well over 50 kids. Then we heard yelling and fights started to break out. I grabbed Jack and Lauren and headed for the house, only 100 steps from the park. I asked Tanyia to call 911 and told her what was going on then ran back to the park. My buddy Dave saw what was going on and came with me. As they came into view there were several real fights going on and one kid was getting pounded. There were now about 60 kids watching and some were using their cell phones to video tape the battles....thanks youTube! I yelled "HEY....get out of here!" and removed my coat, Dave did the same. That worked, I had their attention...even the fights stopped. At this point I am thinking this could go very bad. I yelled again " THE POLICE ARE ON THEIR WAY...THIS IS A PUBLIC PARK....GO HOME NOW!" To my surprise and relief, most of them left immediately and the few stragglers soon after. The kid that seemed to have gotten the worst of it was said "..thanks" he looked really scared. My point of this....I thought this kind of stuff happened in the city, but we live in a small town, in the suburbs and it appears it can even happen here. Afterward, I spoke to Lauren about it, but it was hard for an 7 year old to understand why people would want to hurt each other. It was just as hard for this 36 year old.
  • Ex-Girlfriend: I contacted an Ex through Facebook recently to apologize for how our relationship ended. You know, it felt really good and it couldn't have gone better! She forgave me and we are now friends again. It has me considering contacting other people I have wronged in my life. I just feel spiritually lighter!

Monday, October 01, 2007

I Need this today...

"Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever"

My back is bad today....real bad. I will write later...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

VIDEO: How to fix a flat bicycle tire

I found this awesome video on how to change a bike tire . The guy made the video after being stranded by a flat and had no idea how to fix it. Very thorough and covers everything from a hands on perspective.

You can check it HERE!

Friday, September 21, 2007

"Can I quote you on that Mr. McGinty?"

With a provincial election just weeks away, I found this story out of Australia very intriguing...

Google Australia has unveiled what it described as the world's most powerful dedicated election website, capable of exposing inconsistencies in the public pronouncements of political leaders. With an election due in Australia before the end of the year, Google said the website - - would be a powerful tool for voters and would help generate debate during the upcoming campaign.

Google's Australian-developed election site includes a feature called "On the Record", where users can type in a politician's name, along with an issue of their choosing.

It then scours parliamentary transcripts and the politician's personal website to find any statements on the issue, allowing voters to check whether their representatives are being consistent.

It also gives voters electoral information through a range of online tools including YouTube, GoogleEarth and GoogleMaps. Google said it was the first time so many features had been available on a single election website.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Inspirational Quote

Frequent reader John emailed me a quote that he said reminded him of me and the recent completion of my first ever triathlon. It still amazes me that this blog of mine reaches so many kind and caring individuals. Thank you for sending it to me and your kind words.


"There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is clarity of purpose.

This is the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to achieve it."

Leafs win...LEAFS WIN!

The game yesterday afternoon was terrific and we all had a blast. It was basically a glorified scrimmage, but it gave the kids a chance to see their hockey heroes up close and personal. We were all decked out in our jerseys. Tanyia, Lauren and I were cheering for the "white team, while my two boys cheered for the blue. For the record, blue won 5-1 over my white team...a fact that my youngest son felt he needed to remind me of for the remainder of the day.

After the game we asked someone to take this picture and I think I turned out well. By well I mean that everyone is looking at the camera, with eyes open and smiling....a very rare event for us!

Friday, September 14, 2007

The boys are back in town!

Well today is the first day of Toronto Maple Leafs training camp and if I was any more excited I'd have to change pants. OK...that was a little too much on the yuck scale, but you get the idea.


This Sunday we are going as a family to the "Blue and White Game". It's an inner squad game where the play each other while wearing their home and away jerseys. This will be the first time we have been to a Leafs game as a family and everyone (...not just me), EVERYONE is very excited.

The best matter what the Leafs win!

The first regular season game is not until October, but preseason games start next week. Around this time every year I really start to miss thank god I get my puck fix starting next week!

Can you here it? GO LEAFS GO....GO LEAFS GO....GO LEAFS GO!!!

"New tri bike? Who needs a new tri bike"....I do?

As you may have read in my previous post, I had planed to continue using my Trek 2300 for the triathlon season next year after upgrading some key components. Well...things have changed a bit.

This week I was offered nearly 3 times what I payed my Trek. Now at first I thought there was no way I was going to sell it....I mean what are the chances of me finding the same kind of deal twice right? WRONG! While cruising eBay I stumbled across an auction for an incredible true tri bike with less then 200 miles on it, at an incredible price. Even more amazing was all the gear that was included in the sale. Check it out below!

2007 Felt S32

  • Extra tri saddle
  • Helmet
  • Diadora Geko Size 10 shoes w./ step in clips (brand new, never worn)
  • Bike Lock
  • Under seat bag (for spare tires, energy gel, etc...)
  • Under cross bar bag
  • Seat bar mounted tire pump
  • Padded shorts (brand new, never worn)
  • Minoura stationary trainer
  • Trek speedometer
  • Aero drink
  • Pedals and matching cleats
To view the actual auction page you can click here.

So I put a snipe bid in using my favorite auction software and waited. I have NEVER lost an auction using this software and hoped this would not be the first. If you are familiar with how sniping works and want to win any auction you bid on, here is the key to my success. Change the default snipe time from the standard 12 seconds to 5. No one sets it that low and because of that, I have won even when others are also using snipe software. Even if you're a casual eBay user this software pays for itself the first time you use it. How you may be asking? Well, you only place one bid with only seconds left, so no one has time to put in a higher bid and so it keeps the price down. Anyway, back to the bike....

The auction ended at about 2 am Thursday. Upon waking, I was so excited to find out if I had
won that I nearly tripped down the stairs. I slowly opened the my laptop and was greeted by "You won". "Yeah" I yelled and my kids ran over to see what had dad so excited. "It's just a bike Dad", my oldest son stated very mater of fact, then returned to his bowl of Lucky Charms.
But it wasn't just a bike to me. The S32 is my dream bike and came with an indoor trainer for the winter and a whack of other stuff. Awesome!

Why was this a better deal then upgrading my old bike? Like most things, it was all about the $. All things considered the new bike only cost me $100.

Bike Upgrade Cost: $400 ( all the upgrade parts + I would need new tires)

New Triathlon Bike: $100 ( $900 for the new bike, minus $800 from the sale of the old)

So bottom line is the this...the competition better watch out next season, 'cause I plan on knocking 5-6 minutes off my time. Smoking fast!

Update: New Links added

Ontario parks has added a very cool site that not only shows the real time progression of the fall colours in all provincial parks, but even displays what combination of colours would make for the best viewing.

You can check it out by finding the link under the "Algonquin Park Info Links" heading in the sidebar OR you can just click here.

Thanks to Mark for posting the Link.

I have also added links to Hennessey Hammock, the Amigo Pro Water Filer and Red Tail's Bent Shaft Paddle. I meant to add them ages ago, but they were somehow overlooked.

As for the fall colours, Tanyia and I are planning to take the kids out of school in October and head up to Algonquin for a day of hiking. I think we will go to the Barron Canyon, but still many options!

Suggestions anyone?

Friday, August 31, 2007

CC 2007 Trip Log Update:

OK....this is less of an update then it is a confession.

I haven't even started the CC2007 trip log...sorry folks! So to those of you that have emailed me wondering when it will be posted...I can't give you a definite date, but I assure you that it will be posted fairly soon.

Summer is almost over....that means...HOCKEY, HOCKEY, HOCKEY!!!

Have a great weekend everyone!!